Philippines bans catcalling, wolf-whistling against women

The law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte imposes penalties for "any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person" in public spaces.
The law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte imposes penalties for "any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person" in public spaces.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MANILA (XINHUA) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that penalises catcalling, wolf-whistling and other forms of gender-based street harassment against women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The document, also known as the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act, was signed into law in April, but was released to the media on Monday (July 15).

The law imposes hefty penalties for "any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person" in public spaces, including acts like "catcalling, wolf-whistling" and other unwanted behaviours, whether verbal or physical, that are unwanted and threaten one's sense of personal space and physical safety.

Any person found guilty of gender-based online sexual harassment will be penalised with imprisonment or a fine of between 100,000 pesos (S$2,656) and 500,000 pesos (S$13,286) or both.

If the perpetrator is a juridical person or a non-human legal entity, the company's licence or franchise shall be automatically deemed revoked and the persons liable shall be its officers, including the editor or reporter in the case of print media, and the station manager, editor and broadcaster in the case of broadcast media.

A foreign national who commits gender-based online sexual harassment shall be subject to deportation proceedings after serving sentence and payment of fines.